(Jesus said) "Ye have heard that it hath been said, 'Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.' But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Matthew 5:43-44
Our Savior told us to "love our enemies and do good to those who persecute us." More than just saying the words, the Savior practiced what He preached. From the cross He looked at those who had put Him there and asked that their ignorant acts be forgiven.
Yes, Christians are supposed to love, but most of us must confess: forgiving isn't always easy.
Each day the newspapers carry stories about the most recent terrorist attacks, which are often done in the name of a hateful, horrible pseudo-deity. Hardly a week goes by without us hearing of the latest inhuman torture devised by ISIS and those who have sold their souls to the devil.
This is why this devotion is being written to share a most extraordinary event. The event took place last month on a bus traveling from Nairobi, Kenya. The riders knew it was a dangerous trip since last year two separate attacks on that bus route had left 64 people dead. Nobody was shocked when the vehicle, with more than 100 people aboard, was strafed by machine gun fire.
Ten militants boarded the bus and demanded the Christians identify themselves.
One believer made a run for it and was shot down. A truck driver who happened upon the scene was also murdered. Once again the terrorists demanded to know, "Where are the Christian believers?"
The Muslims on the bus replied, "If you want to kill us, then kill us. There are no Christians here."
It was a brave statement. It was also a lie.
The Muslims had hidden some Christians under the luggage and others they had clothed with Islamic garb so they would not be recognized. Disgruntled, the terrorists left, with government forces in hot pursuit.
Right now, in Europe and America, there is growing hatred toward Islam. Violence is begetting more violence and many are making unfair generalizations. You and I can understand why that would be.
It's difficult to keep turning the other cheek.
This is why this devotion asks us to remember two things: first, as Jesus commanded and demonstrated, we are to love our enemies and second, we need to remember not every member of Islam is a terrorist thirsty for the blood of infidels like you and me. We need to remember we serve a Lord of love who sent His Son to seek and save the lost, that is all the lost. It is that example which motivates our response to others.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, help me to love those who seem to be unlovable. Whenever and wherever possible allow my words and actions to make a witness to Jesus who loved me when I loved Him not. This I ask in His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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